Mirtazapine For Dogs That Won’t Eat

Chronic medical conditions can impact our dogs in many ways, appetite included.

When a dog is not feeling themselves, they may begin to shy away from their food more often than not.

Adequate nutrition is essential for battling health complications, so your vet may rely on appetite stimulants to get them through.

Mirtazapine is a safe and effective option for our canine friends, whether they are recovering from an acute issue or a long term condition.

In this article we will discuss the details of mirtazapine use in dogs, and help you better understand how a dog could benefit from an appetite stimulant in their diagnosis.

Mirtazapine For Dogs That Wont Eat

What Is Mirtazapine?

Mirtazapine, or Remeron, is a medication used to treat depression, nausea, and anorexia in our furry friends.

Though only FDA approved for use in humans, veterinarians have been prescribing mirtazapine to dogs and cats for quite some time.

Mirtazapine stimulates a relaxing sensation in our canine companions, while also targeting neuroreceptors in the stomach.

This not only regulates some behavioral struggles in dogs, but it can also promote a healthy appetite in an anorexic pup.

Many dogs that won’t eat are actually suffering from mild nausea, and mirtazapine tackles this symptom as well.

Is Mirtazapine Safe For Dogs?

Mirtazapine is safe for dogs when prescribed by a veterinarian.

Mirtazapine has fewer drug interactions than most antidepressant drugs, and negative side effects are extremely rare.

As long as you are following the guidance of your veterinarian, mirtazapine is a safe way to combat your dog’s anorexia.

Though mirtazapine is generally safe, its use should always be monitored closely if your dog has any conditions of the liver, heart, or kidneys.

Dogs with difficulty metabolizing medications will often need to have an altered dose, as well as being watched closely for any sign of complications.

The medication is still safe for these dogs, they will just require some extra guidance.

It’s important to note that mirtazapine should only be used when a diagnosis has been made.

For example, if a dog is not eating due to an intestinal blockage that is undiagnosed, masking their symptoms can lead to further damage.

Though it’s not always possible to have all the answers, your vet will likely rule out any major issues before prescribing this medication.

Why Would A Dog Need Mirtazapine?

Mirtazapine is an effective tool in managing conditions where anorexia and nausea go hand in hand.

A lack of adequate nutrition can cause a dog to decline rapidly in their condition, sometimes causing more damage than the condition in itself.

Some of the most common situations that require the use of mirtazapine in dogs include:

  • Cancer that causes decreased appetite
  • Cancer treatment that causes nausea, such as chemotherapy
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Chronic gastrointestinal conditions 
  • Recovering from a gastrointestinal condition

Mirtazapine can also be used to combat certain behavioral struggles in our canine friends as well.

Mirtazapine can help dogs with separation anxiety, inappropriate urination, and even those with disturbed sleeping patterns.

Mirtazapine Side Effects In Dogs

Side effects are rare with mirtazapine use in dogs, and are most often seen in our feline friends.

Though your pup will likely tolerate this medication just fine, it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects in case your pup is one of the unlucky few.

Some of the most common side effects of mirtazapine in dogs include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Increased barking or other vocalizations
  • Hyperactivity
  • Agitation
  • Trembling
  • Increased heart rate
  • Skin irritation

If you notice any of the above symptoms in your canine companion, we suggest reaching out to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Your pup may not have to discontinue the medication, but your vet may be able to simply alter their dose. Your veterinarian will make the best decision for your dog’s health.

How To Give Your Dog Mirtazapine

Mirtazapine for dogs will either come in tablet or liquid form.

Some mirtazapine will come in the form of dissolving tablets, and will require you to place the tablet in your dog’s mouth.

Just be sure that your hands are not wet before offering the pill, as any moisture will begin to melt the tablet.

Most vets will prescribe a once daily amount for your pup to take for a short period, often reassessing weeks later to see if the dog’s appetite has returned.

Mirtazapine is not typically prescribed for long term use, but every situation can be assessed as it comes.

Risks To Be Aware Of With Mirtazapine Use In Dogs

One of the main risks to be aware of with mirtazapine use in dogs is the potential for developing serotonin syndrome.

Serotonin syndrome is a result of too much serotonin present in the body, leading to severe symptoms such as agitation, shaking, hypersalivation, vocalizing, and seizures.

The risk of developing serotonin syndrome is highest when your dog is taking any other mood stabilizing medications.

Some of the most common medications to interact with mirtazapine include amitraz, selegiline, and fluoxetine.

This is why it is so important to let your veterinarian know if your dog is taking any other medications.

If you notice any symptoms of serotonin syndrome in your dog, it’s important to seek veterinary care immediately.

This condition can be resolved with medical attention, but it requires immediate action.

Other potential drug interactions to be aware of include tramadol, diazepam, and cimetidine.

As long as you disclose all information and medical history with your veterinarian, your pup should safely benefit from the use of mirtazapine.

Final Thoughts

Mirtazapine is a wonderful way to stimulate an appetite in an anorexic pup when needed.

As long as you work closely with your veterinarian throughout their condition, this can be an effective tool in their road to recovery.

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